JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Drivers can expect to see major changes to Interstate 295 this weekend. Action News Jax got an up-close look at two new express lanes before they open to drivers Saturday at about 6 a.m.
The express lanes require a toll and there is a $25 fine for not paying it.
The Florida Department of Transportation recommends buying a SunPass. We found a list of where drivers can purchase one here.
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“I’m willing to pay it just to get the slow pokes out of the fast lane,” driver Rebecca Olgetree said. “We already have such congestion for the traffic in Jacksonville and people are very guilty of using the fast lane just for cruising along and I think that will eliminate that and the people that actually need to get somewhere can get somewhere.”
Although the new lanes are optional, some drivers strongly oppose the required toll.
"The developers should be the ones to pay for the roads, not citizens who happen to just be driving though the area,” William DeLand said.
The two lanes will stretch about 4.5 miles along I-295, starting at I-95 and continuing to the Buckman bridge. Orange delineators separate it from other drivers.
FDOT installed cameras along the road to catch any drivers that use the lanes without paying a toll.
“Express lanes are a management tool on the roadway where drivers can choose to use the express lanes and have a more predictable commute time,” said Hampton Ray, the Public Information Officer for FDOT in Northeast Florida.
He said the department has been testing the express lanes with microwave detectors, which count cars to measure traffic. Their study found traffic in this area slows down to about 7 mph and these lanes will increase it about 20 mph.
The toll prices will also be based on how busy the roads are at the times, and signs will display the price above the lanes.
Drivers will only be charged Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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